Back in 2011, I left Romania with a heavy heart. My fantastic team offered a typical Romanian instrument traditionally played by Gypsies named “Tsambal”. I got in in working condition through a local maker.
Then an Iranian friend took a look and said “that’s like a santur”, and If I asked someone from greece it would be “santouri”, and in India it would be santoor…Here in france it is called “Cithare” although all of those instruments are based on the same principle of hammered strings, their shapes, tuning and resulting sound would of course be different.
Back to this Tsambal, and to the history of Gypsies : why is this instrument so similar to what can be found in India or in Iran (among all surrounding countries) ? Because it has followed the migration of nomad Manouche (“free man” in Sanskrit) and Roms People, from northwest india to Iran and among all courtships where their musical talents would come upfront.
Because they went through what was called the “little egypt” in greece they were nicknamed “gypsies”, then some of them played their instruments in the Bohemian region, where they obtained a pass and were then nicknamed “Bohemians”.
Those people are the last living evidence of about 6000 years of mankind, when at the time all mankind was nomad. So it is not just a musical instrument I was offered, but a piece of mankind history. If you have the chance to read about those people story, do so you will simply learn about the history of man.